Script comes from Jakob Weis (That Time Of Year) in collaboration with El-Toukhy and is based on author and historian Tom Buk-Swienty’s recently published biography about Blixen’s life as a coffee farmer in Kenya from 1914-31. Pic is being produced by Mikael Rieks (Land Of Mine) for Nordisk Film with an expected 2022 launch.
El-Toukhy’s international breakthrough came earlier this year with Sundance, Rotterdam and Gothenburg title Queen Of Hearts, which will be released later this year in U.S. by Breaking Glass Pictures. Trine Dyrholm stars in the provocative film about a woman who jeopardizes her career and family when she seduces her teenage stepson.
El-Toukhy said, “I have always regarded Karen Blixen as a victim. As a woman who paid a high price on a personal level in spite of the great recognition she received in her professional life as an author. But when I read Tom Buk-Swienty’s book I realized that her life in Africa was filled with contradictions. She was not only a victim – she was also dominant and enslaved by her emotions.”
She continued, “My dream is to create a film about the experiences that gave birth to the literature of Karen Blixen later in life. It is the story of a privileged woman with an almost greedy lust for adventure. She strives to live an authentic life and thereby challenges the expectations of the bourgeois structures she was brought up in. And once she returns from Africa after 17 turbulent years she is forever changed. The Lioness is a universal story of an intricate and passionate human being.”